The Cockpit Country drama continues to play out. This time Dr. Peter Phillips, the leader of the Oposition People’s National Party (PNP) has stepped into the mix.
Fresh from his victory over Peter Bunting in the PNP leadership race on September 7, Dr. Phillips has joined the cause of the Cockpit Country Warriors in calling for no mining whatsoever in the Cockpit Country.
From Dr. Phillips’ Facebook page:
We have seen many communities that used to be thriving agricultural communities in South Manchester and elsewhere just simply disappear. We have seen companies come, make millions of dollars and have gone. The original mining companies are no longer here. We need a balanced approach and we have to be honest with ourselves with how best we are going to protect our future and it does not mean anyone has to lose their work.
While further consultations are needed with all stakeholders, we are clear on these 3 things as it relates to mining in the Cockpit Country:
1. There should be NO mining in the Cockpit Country.
2. The voices of the citizens must be heard. They need to be a part of the process of defining the boundaries of the Cockpit Country.
3. The Special mining licenses that were issued last year need to be rescinded until an environmental impact study is done.
From: The Gleaner
Opposition leader Dr Peter Phillips has urged the Andrew Holness administration to ensure that no bauxite mining activities take place in areas that form part of the Cockpit Country.
Phillips’ comments come against the background of a chorus of objections from both environmentalists and residents who have raised strong objections to bauxite mining in the Cockpit Country – an area rich in unique medicinal plants and is home to 40 per cent of the country’s domestic water supply. It’s boundaries are in dispute.
Phillips toured sections of Special Mining Lease (SML) 173, where Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners II was slated to start mining later this month.
However, its plans were halted by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), which stated that the draft environmental impact assessment (EIA) report is now under review. It is a prerequisite to allowing mining to take place.
Like the residents in the communities of Gibraltar inSt Ann; and Sawyers, Alps and Ulster Spring in Trelawny, who are of the view that mining could negatively impact their lives economically, socially, culturally and environmentally, Phillips believes that all mining incursions in the contested area should stop.
The opposition leader has argued that the process in which areas were identified for mining was flawed and in need of review. Environmentalists and other stakeholders, including the South Trelawny Environmental Agency (STEA), have echoed similar sentiments regarding mining in the Coockpit Country.